Feb. 6, 2012
ST. LOUIS - Katherine "Kat" Mertz, an NCAA Division I women's soccer coaching veteran who most recently served two years as a University of Texas assistant, has been named head women's soccer coach at Saint Louis University.
Mertz has made nine NCAA Tournament appearances in four collegiate coaching stints covering 13 seasons. She also has extensive coaching experience with the U.S. Women's Youth National Team and the Olympic Development Program.
"I am excited and honored to be the head women's soccer coach at Saint Louis University," Mertz said. "I am grateful to (Vice President for Student Development) Dr. Kent Porterfield, (Director of Athletics) Chris May and the athletics staff for believing in me to lead the Billiken women's soccer program back to national prominence.
"The University's academic prestige, great athletic facilities and family atmosphere, under the leadership of (University President) Father Biondi, make me excited to call SLU home," Mertz said. "There is a rich soccer tradition and history in St. Louis, and I look forward to becoming part of it."
"We are thrilled to have Kat Mertz join the Billiken family and lead our women's soccer program," Saint Louis Director of Athletics Chris May said. "She brings infectious energy and an ambitious vision for the sport of women's soccer to Saint Louis University.
"Kat emerged from a deep and talented group of candidates to make a strong impression on the search committee in many areas," May said. "Most importantly, she has demonstrated throughout her career a deep commitment to educating the total student-athlete. She has a history of success at many levels, and her experience with the U.S. Youth National Team is invaluable."
Mertz helped guide Texas to the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2011. The Longhorns placed nine student-athletes on the All-Big 12 squad and 19 on the Academic All-Conference team during her tenure.
Prior to her stint at Texas, Mertz served five seasons (2005-09) as head coach at UNLV. She compiled a 49-39-19 record and led the Rebels to two NCAA Tournament berths (2005, 2006), two Mountain West Conference Tournament titles (2005, 2006) and the MWC regular-season crown in 2007, when she was named the league's Coach of the Year.
In Mertz's first season, UNLV set school records for wins and fewest goals allowed. The program achieved its first undefeated home record in 2007 and its first national ranking in 2008.
Mertz coached 17 All-Conference performers at UNLV, including an MWC co-Offensive Player of the Year, and three All-Region honorees. During her five seasons, the Rebels produced 60 Academic All-Conference selections, three College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District choices and one CoSIDA Academic All-American.
Mertz was the lead assistant coach at UCLA for five years (2000-04). The Bruins reached the NCAA Tournament round of 16 in each of those seasons and advanced to the NCAA College Cup in 2000, 2003 and 2004. UCLA won three Pac-10 championships and produced numerous All-Americans, Pac-10 Players of the Year and Academic All-Americans during Mertz's time with the program.
Before coming to UCLA, Mertz spent the 1999 campaign as an assistant coach at Virginia.
A member of the U.S. Women's National Team's U-20 and U-18 coaching staff since 2007, Mertz helped lead the U-20 squad to the 2008 FIFA World Cup title. She was an assistant coach for the WNT U-15 team in its inaugural season in 2004, and last year she became a national scout for the Youth National Team programs.
Mertz served as head coach of the Olympic Development Program Region IV '94 age group team and was the ODP Region IV assistant director of goalkeeping from 2004 to 2010.
Mertz was a four-year starting goalkeeper (1994-97) at North Carolina State, where she helped the Wolfpack qualify for three NCAA Tournaments and reach the 1995 national quarterfinals. A starter in 88 of a possible 90 matches, she owns school records for saves in a career (436) and season (135, 1994) and ranks third in career shutouts (24).
Following her collegiate career, Mertz played two seasons for the Raleigh Wings, a W-1 (top tier) team in the United Soccer Leagues W-League. The Wings were league champions both years.
Mertz earned a bachelor's degree in natural resources, ecosystem assessment, at North Carolina State. She holds a United States Soccer Federation "A" national coaching license and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Advanced National Diploma.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT KAT MERTZ
"Kat Mertz is a wonderful coach and a person of the highest integrity. She is well respected in the soccer community by coaches and players alike. Kat has tremendous knowledge of the game, and her extensive experience working with high-level players on the Youth National Team and in the collegiate ranks will serve her extremely well in attracting some of the top student-athletes in the country to Saint Louis. She is excited to be a head coach again, and she will hit the ground running. I look forward to seeing what she can do in her new leadership position at Saint Louis." - Jillian Ellis, U.S. Youth National Team development director and former UCLA head women's soccer coach
"Kat Mertz is one of the outstanding young coaches in America. She was an integral part of the 2008 USA U-20 women winning the world championship in Chile, and she has worked with a number of our youth national teams to help develop our young stars. She was an outstanding player and will take lessons learned as a player, with top collegiate programs and as a Youth National Team coach to Saint Louis University. I wish her and the University a long and rewarding relationship." - Tony DiCicco, former U.S. Women's National Team director of coaching
"Saint Louis University has made an outstanding hire. Kat Mertz is a talented soccer coach and a relentless recruiter who is full of energy. Her future, as well as the future of the Saint Louis women's soccer program, is very bright." - Chris Petrucelli, former University of Texas head women's soccer coach
"Saint Louis is getting a great coach who has head-coaching experience and a real passion for soccer. Kat's ability to identify talent will result in strong recruiting classes, and her international experience will greatly enhance the program. The current players at Saint Louis will be excited about the manner in which Kat leads them on the field and in the classroom. She also is a great fit for the University because of her longstanding devotion to community service. Saint Louis University will enjoy having Kat Mertz lead its women's soccer program." - Lisa Kelleher, UNLV senior associate athletics director